Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor of CNR, Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico (IsMa), Rome, Italy.

3 Ph.D. Candidate Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran.


In archaeological studies of the region of Southwest Asia, during the period from the late fourth millennium BC to the beginning of the Iron Age (second half of the second millennium BC), phenomena such as the growth of settlements in terms of area and population, the emergence of early cities, Trans-regional trade, the formation of government institutions, the emergence and spread of gray and black pottery, extensive changes in technology and the dramatic development of the smelting industry and the use of bronze tools were identified. In this process, an extensive communication network aimed at controlling trade routes and access to raw materials across the plateau by land and sea connected many areas. Economically, in this era, trans-regional trade was established, and communities were connected thousands of miles away from home to obtain the resources they needed. Bronze Age cultures are well known in the most part of Iran but Khorasan is an except and the data are rare and insufficient. Moreover, information about chronology, and distribution of sites during different periods of prehistoric times in different parts of them is very limited. In this research, 38 sites from the Bronze Age period have been studied. These sites were identified in the form of archaeological surveys of the Upper and Middle Atrak during the last decade. This study was done using descriptive-analytic method. For data analysis, GIS and SPSS software, and Correlation and Cluster analysis methods were used. Settlement pattern in the Upper and Middle Atrak basin is similar. It consists of two-level models with large site and a number of small sites around it. The results of this study indicate that due to the lack of water resources in the region, access to the constant water resources is the most important factor in shaping the Bronze age Settlemens. Most sites are also formed during the Early Bronze Age, and we are faced a decrease in the number of sites in the Middle and Late Bronze Age.


Alley, R. B., 2004, abrupt climate change, Scientific American 29 (5): 62-69.
Arne, T.J; 1945, Excavations at Shah Tepe, Iran, Stockholm.
Ataiee, M. 2009. Report of Archaeological Survey in Maneh and Samalghan.
Archive of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization. [In Persian].
Basafa, H. 2011.  Late Bronze age and Early Iron age of Nishapour Plain, Based on Shahrak Firoze Archaeological Site, thesis for Phd in Archaeology, Tarbiat Modarres University. [In Persian].
Biscione, R., and A. A. Vahdati; 2011 ,Excavation at Tepe Chalow, Northern Khorasan, Iran, Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 53: pp: 236-240.
Biscione, R., 1977, The crisis of Central Asian urbanization in II millennium BC and villages as an alternative system, in: Le Plateau Iranien et I’ Asie central des origins a la conquete islamique, J. Deshayes (ed), Paris, pp. 113-128.
Bond, G., Showers, W., Cheseby, M. et al. 1997, a perspective millennial scale cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and glacial climates, Science 278: 1257-1265. 
Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R. et al. 2001. persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene, Science 294: 2130-2136.
Conolly,J., and  Mark Lake; 2006, Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology, Cambridge University Press.
Dana, M. Garazhian, O. Fazeli Nashli. 2012. Stratified Systematic Sampling  in Tape Borj, Nishabur, Khorasan. Payame Bastanshenas, Volume 9, Number 18, pp. 49-68.[ In Persian].
Deshayes, J. 1976. Tureng Tepe, Iran, Vol. XIV,  pp. 169-71.
Djamali, M., De Beaulieu, J., Miller, N. et al. 2009, vegetation history of the SE section of the Zagros Mountains during the last five millennia: a pollen record from the Maharlou Lake, Fars province, Iran, Vegetation History and archaeobotany 18 (2): 123-136.
Francfort. H.P., Vahdati, A, Bendezu-Sarmiento., J, Lhuilier., E, Fouache., M Tengberg., M, Mashkour., Z, Shirazi; Preliminary Report on the Soundings at Tepe Damghani Sabzevar, Spring 2008, 2014, Iranica Antiqua, Vol. XLIX.
Garazhian, O. 2006. Excavation for stratigraphy and documentation of architectural remains in Qaleh Khan Tepe, Maneh and Samalghan, North Khorasan. Archive of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization. [In Persian].
Hole, F, 1980, Archaeological survey in Southwest Asia, Paleorient 6(1): 21-44.
Hlopina, L., 1972, Southern Turkmenia in the late Bronze age, East and West 22: 204-217.
Judy, N.  2011. Analysis of the Bronze Age of the Qaleh Khan settlement, with emphasis on Pottery technique traditions, Architecture, Cultural deposites, thesis for MA in Archaeology, Tehran University. [In Persian].
Judy, N. Garazhian, O. Rezaei,M. 2011.  Prehistoric burial methods in the Qaleh Khan settlement (North Khorasan) with emphasis on the Bronze Age, Payame Bastanshenas, No. 15, pp. 59-74. [ In Persian].
Kelt, K., Shahrabi, M., 1986, Holocene sedimentology of hypersaline Lake Urmia, northwestern Iran, Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology 54: 105-130. 
Khlopina, L.I; 1981, Namazga-depe and the Late Bronze Age of Southern Turkmenia; The Bronza Age Civilization of Central Asia; Philip Kohl (ed); New York: Armonk.
Kohl, P. L., R. Biscione, and M.L. Ingraham. 1982. Implications of Recent Evidence for the Prehistory of Northeastern Iran and Southwestern Turkmenistan; Iranica Antiqua XVI: pp: 185-204.
Kuzmina, E., 2007, the Origin of the Indo-Iranians (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series), Brill.
Masson, V.M; 1988, Altyn-Depe. Philadelphia: University of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania.
Mayewski, P., Rohling, E., Stager, C., et al. 2004, Holocene climate variability, Quaternary Research 62: 243-255.
Mirzaei, A.  2008.  Archaeological Survey Report in Farooj and Shirvan. Archive of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization. [In Persian].
Mirzaei, A. Dana, M. 2016. Bronze Age Review in the Upper Atrak Basin: New Archaeological Surveys in North Khorasan. Honors of Iranian Cultural Heritage, Mir Abedin Kaboli Festival.  No. 3, pp. 541-557. [In Persian].
Motarjem, A. Siasar, N. 2017.  Studying the Changes of Distribution Patterns of the Bronze and Iron Ages Settlements in Chamchamal Plain Central Zagros. Pazhoheshhaye Bastanshenasi Iran, Volume 6, Issue 11. [In Persian].
PapoliYazdi, M. 1992. Nomadism in North Khorasan, translated by Asghar Karimi, Mashhad: Astan Quds Razavi. [In Persian].
Rajabi, N. 2013. Report of Archaeological survey in Bojnourd city. Archive of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization [ In Persian].
Sadat Hosseini, Z. Khaledi Sh. Naderi, A. 2016.  Paleoclimate reconstruction and vegetation dynamic during Pleistocene and Holocene based on palynology at Dasht E Arzhan wetland ars Southwest Iran. Climate Research, Volume 7, Number 27-28, pp. 1-13. [In Persian].
Safaeirad, R. Azizi, Gh. Mahammadi, H. Alizadeh Lahijani, H. 2015. Reconstructing the Holocene and Late-Pleistocene Climate Changes of the Central Zagros Using Palynological Evidences of the Hashilan Wetland. Geography and Environmental Hazards, Volume 3, Pages 1-20. [ In Persian].
Sarianidi, V.I. 1971, Southern Turkmenia and Northern Iran Ties and Differences in Very Ancient Times, East and west, New Servies; Vol.
Schmidt, E.F;1937, Excavations at Tepe Hissar Damghan, Pennsylvania University Press, Philadelphia.
Sharifi, A., Pourmand, A., Canuel, E. et al. 2015, abrupt climate variability since the last deglaciation based on a high-resolution, multi-proxy peat record from NW Iran: the hand that rocked the Cradle of Civilization? Quaternary Science Reviews 123: 215-230.
Stevens, L. Wright, H. Ito, E. 2001. proposed change in seasonality of climate during the Late glacial and Holocene at Lake Zeribar, Iran, The Holocene 11(6): 747-755.
Vahdati, a. 2014, A BMAC Grave from Bojnord, North-Eastern Iran, Iran Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, Volume 52, - Issue 1 Pp: 19-27.
Vahdati, A. Frankfurt, H. 2010. Preliminary Report on the excavation of Damghani Tape in Sabzevar, Spring 2008. Archeology and History, No. 48, pp. 17-36. [In Persian].
 Vahdati, A. Biscione, R. 2015. The third season Joint Iranian and Italian excavations in Chalu Tape, Jajarm, North Khorasan: Excerpts from the findings of Iranian archaeological researches in 2014, Tehran: the  14th Annual Iranian Archaeological Conference. [In Persian].
VanZeist, W., Bottema, S., 1977, Palynological investigation in western Iran, Palaeohistoria 19: 19-85.
Voigt,M.M and R.H.Dyson; 1992 . The Choronology of Iran, Ca 8000-2000 B.C; Chronologies in Old Word Archaeology, R.W.Erich,(ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp: 122-178.
Warren, R.E., Asch, D.L., 2000, Practical applications of GIS for archaelogists: a predictive modeling toolkit, London.
Wasylikowa, K., Witkowski, A, Walanus, A. et al. 2006, Palaeolimnology of Zeribar, Iran, and its climate implication, Quaternary Research 66 (3): 477-493.
Ricciardi, V, 1980, Archaeological Survey In The Upper Atrak Valley(Khorassan, Iran): Preliminary Report, Mesopotamia, Vol.15 , pp.51-71.
Zare, Sh. 2011.  Report of Archaeological Survey in Maneh and Samalghan (North Khorasan), Chapter 2. Archive of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization. [In Persian].